This post will assume that you already know what featured snippets are. If you don’t, they have basically featured search results.
The advantage of featured snippets is that they appear right above the organic results.
So you might be wondering if it’s worth trying to optimize for them, and the answer is definitely, yes! As most website owners will tell you, these days ranking organically in search is getting harder and harder. Featured snippets are another good option for increasing your visibility in the search.
So, in this post, we’ll be showing you how to optimize your website’s content for Google’s featured snippets.
Can SEO help with getting in a featured snippet?
Being able to rank high is necessary if you want to appear in a featured snippet. While there is no magic bullet method of ranking higher, you should still follow SEO best practices if you want your site to rank.
Here are a few good resources to follow for SEO best practices:
Does structured markup help in getting featured?
Contrary to popular belief, adding schema to everything likely won’t help in getting featured. A widely cited Ahrefs study shows no correlation between featured snippets and structured markup. The best way of getting featured is to provide a superior answer to a reader’s question.
What length should an answer be in a featured snippet?
Many people observe that featured answers are usually just one paragraph long. A study from AJ Ghergich helps to back this up. The study shows that the average length of a featured answer is 45 words (with the maximum length being 97 words).
Keep this in mind when writing your content. Keep answers to important questions clear, concise, and only one paragraph long.
How long should my post for Google featured snippets?
Your one-paragraph answers should be under 97 words, but you can make the rest of the content as long as you’d like. Frequently, the longer it is, the better, as long as it’s quality content. These longer posts are often called “Cornerstone” content. This kind of content stands head and shoulders above everything else.
Another thing that makes Cornerstone content better is that it’s usually structured in a way that’s logical (headers, lists, etc) while also keeping the readers’ attention with carefully selected images that are placed appropriately.
Do I really need to write longer content to rank on Google?
Even if you aren’t convinced that longer content gets preferential treatment from Google, writing long-form content can still allow you to include additional relevant answers to readers’ questions. Answering these questions can improve your chances of getting into a featured snippet.
Here are a few tips for further improving your chances:
- Put the question in a subheading
- Right below the subheading put your one-paragraph answer
- Back up your answer after that. This might be where you want to cite the sources or the logical reasoning for your answer.
A side benefit of structuring your content this way is that it will help with reader retention since your content will be easier to read and follow.
What should I include in a featured snippet?
Google loves lists and numbers. This is why you’ll often see featured snippet answer boxes containing lists, steps, etc.
In your answer paragraph, be sure to mention the key names and numbers. The AJ Ghergich study also found that comparisons involving charts and lists were more likely to get featured – Google loves content with a proper structure.
Google also loves tables. In fact, for branded queries, you can “steal” the traffic going to brands. You can do this by including a table in your content, and if it gets featured, then you’ll gain some of that brand’s traffic!
Can my post appear in more than one featured snippet?
Yes, according to Ahrefs research. If your post appears in one featured snippet, it will likely appear in several similar queries.
To ensure that this happens, you’ll want to follow our advice from earlier and write longer content that addresses several other questions relevant to readers.
Google is excellent at determining what questions are related and relevant, and you should be too. This also means that there’s no point in dedicating a separate page for each question.
How should I organize my article to appear in featured snippets?
Well organized article content is the key. To improve your chances of getting featured, you’ll want to organize the readers’ queries and your answers in a logical way.
To do that, here’s a simple formula you can follow.
- Blog Categories: make them generic keywords.
- Title: Make this a specific search query.
- Subheadings: Include keywords for these that are even more specific (similar to the subheadings in this article).
These specific subheadings will also help to shape the structure of the article.
Do pictures increase the chances of getting into a featured snippet?
Absolutely. A featured snippet with a picture is extremely eye-catching. However, there doesn’t seem to be a direct way to tell Google which picture to feature, so just use the best pictures possible in your article.
Good pictures are attractive, annotated properly, and branded well.
How can I increase the chances of a picture being in a featured snippet?
Re-uploading old images in your article can help increase the chances that they get included in a featured snippet. This is because of how WordPress adds dates to image hyperlinks. Even if you update the article, the image dates remain the same. This is why you have to re-upload your images.
Is it worth trying to optimize for Google featured snippets?
Optimizing for Google featured snippets isn’t easy. It requires a lot of hard work that includes
- Following SEO best practices.
- Writing longer content and structuring that content properly.
- Brainstorming readers’ questions and providing well-researched answers to those questions.
- Creating high-quality images and re-uploading those images regularly.
However, if you do all of the above, not only will you greatly increase your chances of getting into a featured snippet, you will also increase your chances of ranking higher organically.